Speedy Dallas Area DB Set for Visit

One city in the Dallas Metroplex area has been very good to the Iowa State program in recent years. The Cyclones are front and center with recruiter Tony Alford again this season, but they're mining another high school for a speedy defensive back.

South Garland cornerback Matthew Harding will be taking an official visit to Ames this weekend, where he will be reunited with a couple of old friends in Bobby Chalk and DeAndre Jackson. Chalk and Jackson signed with ISU out of Garland High School, but are well acquainted with the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Harding.

"I know some of the Iowa State players already, so that's already a big positive about them," said Harding, who made 60 tackles as a senior while forcing one fumble and intercepting one pass. "Bobby and DeAndre have told me what's good about the program, so I already know some positives. That's definitely a factor for me, because I want to go somewhere that I already know people.

"Everybody can play their little role in the recruiting process, but you never know until you really know the players and what's going on. In this case, I already know the players and what's going on. Plus, out of my three schools it's pretty close. I really like Coach Alford. He's a real good guy and I feel close to him."

Harding's three finalists are ISU, North Carolina, and Boston College. His trip to Ames will be his third and final official visit, as he traveled to UNC last weekend and B.C. the weekend of Nov. 27.

"I'm looking at three schools, basically," Harding said. "I'm very happy with those three schools. I think I made some really good choices when I narrowed them down, but I also have a hard choice out of them. I hope I can make the right decision."

That decision could come as soon as this weekend, when he wraps up his official visit to ISU. Given Harding's ties to the Cyclones' Garland natives, and his positive comments about Alford, ISU sounds like the team to beat for his services.

"I am very good friends with Bobby, because we used to run track and play football together," Harding said. "We have been competing in everything we did, so why stop now?"

By signing Chalk and Jackson over the past two seasons, the Cyclones greatly improved their speed in the secondary. By adding Harding in February, they would continue to do that. Harding has run a personal-best 4.25 40 time. Still, the South Garland senior believes Chalk may be a bit faster.

"I ran Bobby in the 100-meter last year and he beat me," Harding said. "He ran a 10.28 and I had a 10.31. So I guess I'd have to say Bobby's faster."

Harding believes he could play a role early in his college career. At ISU, he says, that could be on special teams.

"Coach Alford has already told me they're in need of cornerbacks," Harding said. "They have a couple of players right now, but in a couple of years they're going to need some big-time cornerbacks. He told me that I'm really coming around, and with my speed, I have a chance to be on kickoff return or punt return early in my career."

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